Easy Vegan Lemon Cake
Easy Vegan Lemon Cake

Easy Vegan Lemon Cake

This easy vegan lemon cake is bright-tasting, super tender, quick to stir together, and made with pantry ingredients. (If you use bottled juice along with our lemon emulsion and lemon juice powder, you won’t even have to squeeze a lemon to achieve big, bold flavor.) Frosted with a simple sweet-tart lemon frosting and topped with candied lemon slices or fresh berries, it’s perfect for a spring celebration. 

10 mins
30 to 35 mins
45 mins
one 8" or 9" cake
Easy Vegan Lemon Cake - select to zoom
Easy Vegan Lemon Cake - select to zoom
Easy Vegan Lemon Cake - select to zoom
Easy Vegan Lemon Cake - select to zoom


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8" or 9" round or square pan that’s at least 2" deep; line with parchment or a reusable pan liner

  2. To make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. 

  3. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the water, sugar, vegetable oil, lemon juice, lemon zest or emulsion, and vanilla. Stir to dissolve the sugar. 

  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. It's OK if a few small lumps remain. 

  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. 

  6. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top feels set, the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Once the cake is cool enough to handle, turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

  7. To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, beat together all of the frosting ingredients, starting with the lower amount of water. Mix until the frosting is smooth and silky. Adjust with additional water as needed. Spread over the cooled cake.  

  8. Garnish the cake with candied lemon peel (see “tips,” below) or fresh berries, if desired. 

  9. Storage information: Store the vegan lemon cake, covered, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage. 

Tips from our Bakers

  • To make the candied lemon topping: Slice 1 1/2 lemons into very thin rings (if you have a mandoline, now is the time to use it). Tease out any seeds. Juice the remaining 1/2 lemon and set aside. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the lemon slices, and cook for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to an ice bath. Bring 1 cup (198g) sugar, 1 cup (227g) water, and the reserved lemon juice to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lower to a bare simmer, add the lemon slices, and simmer very gently for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the slices are translucent, with no white bits remaining. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool. For best results, store in an airtight container and use within 1 day. (Save the lemon jelly left in the pot for spreading over toast or mixing into yogurt. 

  • For a stunning (but not vegan) summer dessert, bake this cake in a greased Charlotte Pan. Then make lemon pastry cream by whisking together 3/4 cup (86g) Quick-and-Easy-Pastry Cream Mix, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice Powder, followed by 1 cup (227g) milk. Set aside to thicken. Fill the center of the baked, cooled cake with pastry cream and top with fresh berries; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve. 

    Easy Vegan Lemon Cake Tip